The 6 Stages of Getting a College Degree

Have you decided that it’s finally time to get a college degree? Maybe you’ve been in the working world for a few years and realize that a degree is the fastest way to a promotion. Others simply choose to go back and finish school after acquiring experience in a trade or profession. Whatever your situation is, keep in mind that there are six distinct stages to earning a diploma. Of course, step one is about making a plan and doing the preparatory tasks to get ready for selecting a particular school, arranging for financing, electing a major area of study, learning to study efficiently, and more. Like all other major life events, getting a college diploma starts with preparation and planning. Here are details of all the steps.


This is the plan-making stage. Make a list of your financial resources, if you have any in reserve. Then, write down the names of the schools you might like to attend, the subjects in which you want to major, and what types of jobs you’ll be applying for once your graduate. Planning is a necessary stage of the process. It gives your brain a chance to envision the big picture and make changes as time passes by. The written plan empowers you once it comes time to commit to a major area of study and sign up for job interviews.


For many first-time college students, the main obstacle is money. Paying for an education in the 2020s can be a tough task, and very few working people have enough savings to cover all the expenses. Perhaps that’s why so many turn to private lenders for help. Paying for tuition, fees, books, and other costs can represent a major financial hurdle. Private lenders are an ideal choice for college-bound people who want to deal with the question of financing first, and then worry about earning good grades and graduating. If you want competitive rates, flexible repayment plans, and a lender that can put your mind at ease about school finances, check out private lenders and apply for loans online.

Picking a School

You likely have a few schools in mind already. Just remember to research their return on investment. There’s no need to attend an institution that has a low post-graduation employment rate, charges excessive tuition, or is far from where you live. Keep value in mind, aiming to get the best return on the money you spend getting a diploma.

Choosing a Concentration

Selecting the right concentration, based on personal preferences and abilities, is another crucial step for anyone in pursuit of a four-year diploma. Do some soul searching, ask friends what they think, consult your counselor, and take your time making a final decision. In many ways, the field of study you choose will determine what types of jobs you can apply for. If the institution offers official minors, along with declared concentrations, investigate what kinds of courses you need to add a minor to your degree. Common pairings include accounting, with English as a minor. Other popular pairs are engineering and a foreign language, pre-med, and biology, English and education, marketing and statistics, plus many others.

Doing the Work and Graduating

Where does the rubber meet the road? The hard work begins on your first day of classes. If your study skills are rusty or non-existent, work with a tutor to learn efficient techniques. For many pupils, learning how to study is the single most valuable skill they learn during their first semester. Check with the academic office at least once per semester to verify that you are on track to graduate in time, are accumulating the necessary number of credits per semester, and are fulfilling the requirements for your chosen major.

Career Planning Before Graduation

Sometime before your fourth year of coursework begins, start searching for companies that appeal to you. Make certain that they hire grads with your particular background and major. For example, there’s no sense in applying for positions with hedge funds if you majored in English literature. Likewise, be certain to spend at least two sessions with the school’s career counselor. Ask what kinds of jobs are the best fit for you, based on your major, the electives you took, and your grades. Too often, people overlook the value of sitting down with counselors, so don’t neglect to take advantage of their immense knowledge base and vast experience.

About the Author: Sam

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